Festival Preview: Rockaway Beach 2020 | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Festival Preview: Rockaway Beach 2020

John Cale, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Self Esteem, and More

Dec 11, 2019 The Vegan Leather Bookmark and Share

Whilst many are busy arguing over the best albums of the year, those in the know are already looking to the excitement of the new year and 2020 most definitely starts with Rockaway Beach. A winter weekend getaway for those with a taste for the alternative, the second weekend of January sees Butlins at Bognor Regis transform into Hi-de-Hi! - assuming that the nostalgic sitcom was populated by music fans who love debating which independent label has had the greatest impact, have a penchant for vinyl so strong it threatens to bankrupt them or can instantly name their favourite Bikini Kill tune to sing at karaoke.

As ever, the expert curation has ensured that the fifth incarnation of the festival has a fantastic mix of essential headliners with a proven legacy, cult band favourites and the young upstarts who will not only define the sound of the next twelve months but no doubt become deeply woven into the musical tapestry of the new generation.

As you would expect from a big weekend of music; there will be film screenings, pub quizzes and expert panels discussing the vital issues of the day. Plus, there is all the fun you would expect from Butlins including arcades, bowling and more!

With Rockaway Beach fast approaching, Under the Radar takes a closer look at some of the awesome acts playing from Friday 10th till Sunday 12th of January.

John Cale

Joining the boutique festival as one of the excellent headliners is Welsh composer and songwriter John Cale. When the founding member of seminal psychedelic band The Velvet Underground isn’t producing such classic records as The Stooges debut album and Patti Smith’s Horses, writing the score for film and television or recording his own work in the studio, the wonderous multi-instrumentalist is performing spellbinding sets incorporating his own material plus impassioned reworkings.

The Jesus And Mary Chain

You know it’s going to be a fantastic festival when The Jesus And Mary Chain are playing, and it’s likely that many bought their ticket just to see the Scottish shoegaze pioneers with everything else being a bonus! Able to command unbelievable level of noise, their live performance provokes a physical as much as an emotional reaction and never fails to thrill.

Self Esteem

Self Esteem is one of the essential breakthrough acts of 2019. Feeling constrained whilst working as one half of Sheffield band Slow Club, Rebecca Taylor struck out as a solo performer and explored her love of R&B to develop her fresh new take on alt pop. Her stunning debut album Compliments Please is one of the year’s most vital records which addresses the challenges of being a woman on stage in a world catering to the male gaze.

The Wedding Present

Bringing together elements of post punk and indie pop, the rapid riffs of The Wedding Present are always a delight. Led by David Gedge, the Leeds lad has seen the band undergo many changes in the line up but they remain as influential as ever and they continue to write new material to huge critical acclaim.


With the UK tearing itself apart at the seams from the tensions of inequality and the fallout of Brexit, perhaps the only positive aspect of this hostile period is the excellent music it’s producing. Amongst the vanguard of left-wing post punks are Hull heroes LIFE who have combined the personal with the political on their insanely catchy second LP Moral Fibre.

Our Girl

When Soph Nathann isn’t playing with The Big Moon she’s heading up her very own three-piece Our Girl. Their album Stranger Today is absolutely loaded full of pop hooks and irresistible riffs which make it a hugely satisfying listen and I defy anyone to not play along with an air guitar for at least half of the LP!

The Vegan Leather

Who doesn’t fancy a bit of indie disko fun? The Vegan Leather apply wry lyrics to infectious rhythms prompting moments of reflection as you swing your hips. The Paisley pack have just taken home the trophy for Best Live Act at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards following the release of their fantastic first album Poor Girls \ Broken Boys.

Heavy Lungs

Heavy Lungs are the physical embodiment of the motto; “Go Hard or go home!”. The Bristol based band released their EPs Straight To CD and Measure which both take garage rock to its most furious extremes and then spent the summer turning every festival appearance into a real riot - not one for the timid.

Trupa Trupa

Making their way to the UK all the way from Poland; Trupa Trupa are the sensational band which made waves right across Europe during the festival season and have also recently completed a tour of the US. Signed to Sub Pop, they released their latest LP Of The Sun which draws on elements of psyche and post rock which they twist in their own idiosyncratic manner.

International Teachers Of Pop

Disco revivalists International Teachers Of Pop are the hedonistic burst of glamour you need in your life. Adrian Flanagan and Dean Honer from The Moonlandingz have recruited The Soundcarriers singer Leonore Wheatley and gathered up as many vintage synths as they could lay their hands on to generate the most mesmerising grooves ever!

The Sweet Release Of Death

Anyone with a taste for the deep, dark and nasty will love Dutch three-piece band The Sweet Release Of Death. This year saw the release of their ironically titles third album The Blissful Joy Of Living which is six acerbic songs of pained guitars and colossal walls of sound dripping with bitter sarcasm.

For more information on Rockaway Beach including the full line up, visit the official web page.



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